Saxenda contains liraglutide, an incretin mimetic, which regulates blood sugar levels. Liraglutide slows the digestive process and helps to decrease the appetite in patients which causes the desired effect of weight loss. The drug is used as a compliment to a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity for chronic weight management in adult patients looking to lower their body mass index or BMI. It can be injected through the stomach, upper thighs or arms and is meant to be used on patients trying to keep excess weight off.
However, Saxenda comes with the possibility of life-threatening side effects including pancreatic cancer.
Saxenda FDA Warnings
Saxenda contains a black box warning from the Food and Drug Administration which details the risk of thyroid tumors found in mice that were exposed to the drug during a controlled study.
In a Drug Safety Communication announcement, the FDA warned physicians not to prescribe Saxenda to patients who have a history of Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma (MTC) or Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Syndrome Type-2 (MEN 2).
In an additional Safety Communication, the FDA warned of the increased possible risk of pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas, and pre-cancerous cellular changes called pancreatic duct metaplasia in patients taking Victoza, which is a medication containing the same active ingredient as Saxenda.
Saxenda Side Effects
- Pancreatic cancer
- Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma (MCC)
- Thyroid cancer
- Kidney problems
Saxenda, manufactured by Novo Nordisk, was initially used as a drug to treat type-2 diabetes and received approval from the Food and Drug Administration in 2014 as a weight-loss medication due to the side effects. Researchers found that it could be used for patients suffering with obesity or those who had weight-related complications, such as high blood pressure. It’s appeal to many people around the globe for a quick-fix for weight loss has made it a highly sought out drug.